Monday, March 9, 2009

Reading and Sibling Rivalry

My youngest daughter has declared that she can read, and pity the person who challenges her. She brought The Yearling to a party. She positions herself on the couch in positions identical to her book-a-holic sister. And she has a giant tantrum every time said older sister provokes her with an actual word. I cajole Grace to let it go, but there are times when she's clearly provoked. And vice versa. I'm still at the bottom of the learning curve in terms of teaching useful peacemaking skills for small people.

The issue of Grace being marked the reader is straight out of Siblings Without Rivalry. I'm trying to be very careful to be inclusive and also talk about Kate as someone who loves books. Because she does, and she just happens to be 4.5 years younger and on a different learning trajectory. We are a family of readers and she wants to fit, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with imitation.

I'm also trying to figure out how to lay off trying to slyly teach her things, because maybe it is too much pressure. I believe that kids should learn through play at this age, but then I also can't help but bring on the phonics over alphabet soup. On the other hand, when she asserts herself in complete contradiction to my reality, I start to want her to actually know how to read. And I feel like some of her frustration and competitiveness will dissipate as she gets caught up, but then, she's only 4.5 and will always be 4.5 years younger than her only sibling, so that isn't really a good way out of this conflict.

I also try to figure out how to help my elder lay off. Grace is unbelievably lovely and kind in almost all situations, but the assertions of her younger sister drive her to distraction, and she can be pretty harsh in her corrections. My corrections of her corrections do not help.

I'd love picture book ideas for siblings thinking about birth order and their own sibling rivalry, books about compassion vs. being right (perhaps too heady for the picture book crowd?), and books about the frustration of learning to read. Any thoughts?

I did find a new blog that features 5 great books about a particular theme, for kids learning to read

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